If America wonders why it is increasingly hated around the world, readers should note the introductory paragraph of New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman’s latest feature for the paper’s Sunday magazine:
One day Iraq, our post-9/11 trauma and the divisiveness of the Bush years will all be behind us — and America will need, and want, to get its groove back. We will need to find a way to reknit America at home, reconnect America abroad and restore America to its natural place in the global order — as the beacon of progress, hope and inspiration. I have an idea how. It’s called “green.”
The arrogance of the sentiment is staggering. If one can forget that Friedman was a leading cheerleader of the Iraq war, he clearly wants to move onto his new global plan for “liberation”: the green movement. To the extent that global warning is a serious issue that needs global solutions, he’s right. But if he expects us to ignore his consistent ability to misunderstand the limits of American power, he’s seriously wrong.
America is indeed a beacon for many citizens around the world, but it’ll take more than “greening” to make people forget the catastrophic failures in Iraq, support for despotic nations around the world, one-sided wet kisses towards Israel and unhealthy use of defense contractors (analysed in the recently released best-seller, Blackwater.)
Friedman needs to accept the fact that America’s role as the world’s sole superpower is coming to a close. And it’s not a moment too soon.